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June 26, 1998

Local students were dismissed for the summer several weeks ago, but flashing lights in some school zones still warn motorists to slow down during certain hours of the day despite the absence of students. Do we risk a traffic ticket by ignoring those lights or will they be changed sometime this summer, before the fall term begins perhaps?

It hurts to read those stories of senseless damage and abuse of property around Perry, apparently caused by vandals intent upon finding new ways of inflicting a form of terrorism on the rest of us. This community is working hard to provide a comfortable and safe place where young people and adults can truly enjoy life. We're dressing up the downtown business area and striving to clean up blighted spots in the residential area. The people you meet here are the salt of the earth, churches reach out with news of grace and redemption, teachers in all of our schools struggle to instill a sense of worth and responsibility, and attractive job opportunities abound. The environment is clean and healthy. How ironic that a small, misdirected group can inflict damage for the rest of us to clean up. Why do some cuckoos choose to lurk in the shadows armed with cans of spray paint for scrawling filthy thoughts on public buildings, or hurl eggs as weapons at inanimate objects? It's not funny, and certainly not smart. A relative few are giving a bad name to one of the best small towns in America. We need to figure out why they're doing this before their sickening, foolish behavior gets completely out of hand. Some will say it has already gone too far.

Our Perry Carnegie Library is joining the nationwide trend of computerizing its list of books to replace the old index card files that have served for so many decades. Soon to disappear are the sturdy little-wooden cabinets filled with 3x5 cards that gave patrons summarized information about each book in the library's collection. In their place are bright computer screens that provide the same information, and more, but with the use of a mouse and cursor. It will take some getting used to and we'll have to learn some additions to our vocabulary to understand the instructions, but thank goodness the real, live library staff is still there to cheerfully provide help upon request.

The city's ambitious new street program this summer includes the complete rebuilding of a major portion of Wakefield Road on the north side of town. Right now several blocks of Wakefield have been ripped out and more will soon follow. New curbs and gutters are promised along with corrected elevations to eliminate drainage problems that have existed for years. Fly ash is being used to improve the stability, but until a new surface has been laid by the contractor, Evans & Associates, residents of that portion of Wakefield are living in a veritable Dust Bowl. Any traffic kicks up a stifling cloud of powdery dirt. Yes, it will be nice when completed. Wakefield now carries a heavy load of traffic, including freight haulers, farm trucks and school buses, in addition to the normal east-west vehicles throughout the day, and the old surface was rough, to say the least. The new street will be most welcome. We had just about worn out the old chug holes.

Here's a suggestion for our city street department. Wouldn't it be nice if Wakefield could be center-striped to finish the job? That might cure some of us of our habit of driving down the middle of the street.